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Urban river chub and roach spree cut short by pollution

August 18, 2017 at 3:35 pm

Following several pollution incidents this year, my local river appeared to be in recovery six weeks ago, when despite an unidentifiable surface scum, it fished well on the bread punch with most of the silver fish species ending up in my keepnet. As a bailiff for the council backed fishing club, that has taken control of the water, my patrols have shown a healthy river running clear and decided that it was time for another monitoring session.

Arriving on a bright afternoon I walked down to an area where a club Himalayan balsam clearing operation has left an open area ideal for fishing. Expecting chub from under the far bank trees, I dropped in a couple of balls of liquidised bread, before setting up my 12 ft Hardy stick float rod with a 3 No 4 ali stemmed float. A sail away bite was a good sign and struck into my first fish, a palm sized rudd.

On my way to the swim I’d passed Jane, who was fishing with her young son. After a membership check, she said that they “only” had bread as bait and hadn’t caught anything yet. Informing her that I rarely fished with anything else, I suggested that she come down to see how I was getting on later.

As that first fish plopped into the keepnet, Jane appeared behind me and my next cast saw the float dive away again, the rod bending now into a hard fighting chub.

My visitor was amazed when the next cast saw a repeat performance, followed by a furious fight from an even bigger chub, that charged off downstream before coming to the net.

Another ball of bread and the float sank away again, the rod bending over as the fish dived back beneath the trees, now with an even larger chub. Close to my bank a submerged branch was visible and each time the chub had made a dive toward it as they neared the landing net, this one almost making it to the snag, but side strain kept it clear.

During this time I was giving a running commentary and trying to give Jane a crash course in bread punch fishing. Her son was using big pinches of bread from a slice, which were giving nibbling bites, while my 5 mm bread pellet was getting a positive pull under every cast. How do you pack years of experience into ten minutes? I’m sure Jane returned to her son more confused than when she arrived.

A smaller chub followed from beneath the trees, then the bites became difficult to hit. Leaving the float to disappear from view before striking gave the answer, 4 inch chublets. Their bigger brothers had gone off the feed and these juveniles were fighting over the bait as it sank. I stopped feeding that line and switched to the middle. Setting the float another foot deeper, I cast down stream and held it back over the feed. A dip, dip, sink bite brought another change of fish as a roach of a few ounces came to the surface. The next bite from the middle had me convinced that I had another chub, when it rushed over to the far bank, but the flash of a red dorsal fin identified it as a decent roach.

This was the last good fish of the session. I had become aware that the river was becoming misty with a grey/blue tinge, while the bites were becoming very fussy, those fish hooked being tiny roach of less than an ounce, which I put straight back. Shallowing up the float, I was back to the miniature chub again from under the trees. As the river became more coloured, the bites faded away. In my book, if you can’t catch on the punch, you can’t catch anything.

Half an hour without a bite is a long time, when the previous hour was a fish a chuck, even if most of them were too small for the net. The once visible submerged branches in close had now faded in the murk and it was time investigate where it was coming from.

I had intended fishing for three hours, but it was pointless to carry on, what had started as a possible red letter day had ended with disappointment and I pulled in my net.

I walked back upstream towards the outlet weir. Jane and her son were long gone, they would have stopped getting bites before me.

At the weir the blue tinged water was coming from my side of the sill, the cloudy mixture billowing into the clear water from the confluence of the wild river. Somewhere under the town upstream, contaminated water was emptying down a drain. Accidental, or intentional it can only be bad for the river. The Environment Agency have been informed, but the three outlet pipes are linked to many miles of rainwater drains under industrial estates. Searching for a needle in a haystack comes to mind.


42 grain Winchester .22 subsonic, long range field test

August 14, 2017 at 11:44 pm

Having carried out a series of comparison tests between RWS subsonics and the new 42 grain Winchester subs on paper targets, I was keen to try them out on rabbits, but had been unable to find the time, when conditions were right. Today that opportunity arrived, when a dull humid afternoon with a few spots of rain, eased into a mellow, dry windless evening.

Driving along the lane toward the farm, rabbits were visible in the pasture, while another hopped across the entrance as I passed through the gates. Despite these heartening signs, it was all change once I’d unloaded the Magtech semi auto from the van, the sight of a rabbit squeezing under a fence to disappear into the brambles beyond, being the only indication of my furry quarry.

Like all my current permissions, regular visits have kept the bunny populations in check, while as one of my landowners suggested the other day, they have figured out that my van parked in the lane means trouble. Whatever the cause, there seemed to be nothing about as I passed along the lane and decided that it was going to be a waiting game, climbing the motorway embankment to where I would have a view over a wide area covering two known warrens.

This is a favourite vantage point for the HMR, giving safe shots out to 150 yards with an 180 degree panoramic view. Having set the zero for 50 yards on the .22 Magtech, I was expecting targets to appear up to 70 yards out, giving the fast moving 42 grain Winchesters the chance to prove their worth.

I had settled down with the Magtech rested on my gun bag, when a rabbit appeared from beneath a hedge to my left. It was about 50 yards away and was confident of a kill, lining up the cross hairs on it’s upper chest. Squeezing the trigger, nothing happened. I’d forgotten to cock the action. Reaching forward, I pulled back the lever, letting it spring forward to feed the first bullet into the breach. Sighting on the rabbit, I was in time to watch it pass through the rear hedge 60 yards away. The ground below the embankment is rough from winter cattle and I hadn’t chambered the round for safety reasons.

Five minutes later the rabbit was back, working its way along the hedge beneath an apple tree. It paused and I shot it, dropping forward with out a kick, but I remained sighted on the head just in case it had only been stunned. It did not move. The Magtech was only a cheap rifle, when I bought it over ten years ago, but it settled into being extremely accurate with the right ammo. The 42 grain Winchester had proved its accuracy and knock down power, while being almost silent against the background noise of the motorway behind me.

Firing from the embankment top, it had been point and shoot at this range due to the drop cancelling out the looping trajectory. Looking back I was impressed by the distance.

I had remained at my post, waiting for more movement, while scanning the area. A hundred yards to my left, several rabbits had come out on the top of the embankment and considered the thirty yard crawl to get in range, but twenty minutes after the first, another rabbit broke cover. It stopped to dig into wood chippings long enough for me to swing round for a shot between the shoulders. A leap in the air and it was still.

Another clean shot beyond 50 yards. The Winchesters have a larger diameter hollow point, than the equally accurate RWS subs, of which I have questioned their knock down power, probably due to the small hollow point. No need for a second safety shot with these Winchesters. A few minutes later and another rabbit emerged from brambles into a small hollow at least seventy yards away. Allowing for drop, I aimed high on its chest and squeezed the trigger, watching it jump forward then stop.

The top of the embankment was still a hive of activity, with white tails flicking among the nettles and I decided to pick up my bounty, then return to the van for a closer shot. Walking down the incline, I disturbed a feeding rabbit, which ran across the path in front of me, then stopped short of the fence. At thirty yards the image was blurred in my scope, but the white of its front was a big target as I raised the rifle and squeezed off the shot, flipping it over in a back somersault.

 Four rabbits with four shots from the 42 grain Winchester subsonics, three at long range for a .22, will see my RWS subs pushed to the back of the gun cabinet for the time being, to be used for zeroing, while these young rabbits will make good eating, being kept in the freezer for a rainy pie making day.




Bread punch roach and skimmer bream action at Kingsley Pond

August 5, 2017 at 9:21 am

An invite to fish Kingsley Pond in Hampshire, as a guest of the Oakhanger club chairman David, was not to be turned down, despite a weather forecast of blustery winds and showers. I’d cancelled a visit last year due to the weather and missed out on a good day’s fishing at this prolific two acre pond, so turned up prepared for the worst complete with all my wet weather gear. David was already fishing when I arrived and sat me down in a swim close to his. He was fishing with cubes of luncheon meat on a size 14 hair rig, fished under a waggler float cast to a lily bed 10 yards out. All very new to me, but just the rig for the specimen fish inhabiting these waters. I was sticking to my tried and tested bread punch method to target the often ignored roach and skimmer bream, with the chance of a tench, or crucian carp thrown in for good measure.

No sooner had I set out my stall to fish, the heavens opened with the first of many squally showers, which saw me struggling into leggings and a waterproof jacket, preferring these to sitting under the restriction of an umbrella. Plumbing the swim, I found that the maximum depth out to six metres was no more that two feet, with less than a foot close in, not even enough to cover a keepnet.

Feeding an area four metres out in front of me and another beyond the edge of the small lily bed to my right, I was ready to reacquaint myself with Kingsley, where I had last fished 30 years ago. Then I had fished the pole with hemp and caster for the quality roach it held, taking a lucky tench to boost my match weight. Today I was using the same Shakespeare carbon pole over a bed of liquidised bread, laced with ground carp and micro krill pellets, with a smattering of sweetcorn for good measure. That would do.

The first ten minutes saw me bashing out small roach, most of which I considered too small for the net, chucking them straight back, so switched from bread punch to a piece of sweet corn. Missed bites and more small roach. Then the first skimmer. I had rebaited with the corn and dropped the rig in at my feet ready to add two joints to my top two sections, when there was a swirl and the elastic zoomed out, almost pulling the top sections from my hand. A second later the whole lot pinged back minus the hook, tangling the pole rig in the process. I was fortunate to have been holding the pole at the time, or it may not have been only a carp that I had just lost. After unraveling the tangle, I was searching for another size 16 to 2.5 lb hook link in my box, when David walked over to show me the 5 lb tench that he had just landed on the meat.

This small rudd was followed by a stonker of 8 oz, which flipped from my hands as I stretched out my fingers to show its red fins ready for a photo. Literally gone in a blur.

I had gone back to the bread punch, going from 6 mm to 7 mm bringing better fish, including some nice roach.

The rain was on and off, while the gusting wind often made it difficult to hold the pole, sinking the tip and waiting for the float to reappear from the waves. When it didn’t there was a fish on. Occasionally the wind would drop to be bathed in sunshine. The fish had no preference, they just kept biting.

David was catching well too, splashes from his bed of lilies indicating a satisfying session. A 2 lb crucian was carried over for me to see, with reports of a pound roach and one and a half pound bream, all on the the luncheon meat. He came back with a great chunk of the stuff. With only a size 16 hook, I cut the meat into small cubes and tried it out and got a good running bite. A signal crayfish had taken it.

A few missed bites and another big crayfish saw me back on the bread. Stick with what you know is my motto. I was not really set up for bigger fish as the earlier lost carp had shown. It takes time to get your hook back from a signal. After you have trodden on it, making sure it is dead, you have to cut the hooked limb off, then cut away to the hook. The luncheon meat was not wasted, it was very tasty.

Mixing up more feed, I was happy in my little fish catching zone, when a call from David got my attention. He was playing a carp, which had run in a semi circle close to the bank, before heading out again. It was eventually netted by the seasoned carp angler, the 10 lb common failing to break the 4 lb hook link.

This carp had taken a worm intended for a tench, providing me with a little interlude, the break giving me a chance for a quick sandwich, while David posed for a photo.

Getting back to my peg, the skimmer bream had done a disappearing act, the regular small balls of feed had held them in a tight area, but I was not complaining when the first cast back in brought a hard fighting roach.

More roach were in the swim, instead of the slow sink of the skimmers, the roach were just running off with the bait in the shallow water. The one below being my best of the day,

A roach bream hybrid, saw the start of another run of skimmers, this time a better stamp of fish.

We had agreed to fish until 3 pm and with five minutes to go, the elastic on my pole pulled out as I lifted into another fish, the dull thudding fight and a golden flank below the surface indicated a real bream this time, which slowly approached the net, it’s back out of the water in the shallow margin. Inches from safety, I pressured the pole to lift the bream over the rim of the net. It turned it’s head and the hook came out. Curses. It would have been nice to have ended the day with a fish that matched some of those that David had caught.

I am never happier than when watching a float go down, this haul in under five hours, proof of a happy day. Roll on the next invite.

Bread punch best for carp on evening pond

July 31, 2017 at 11:00 pm

I had been promising myself an evening on the local duck pond all summer, but scorching temperatures, not pleasant at the best of times, followed by storms and heavy showers sweeping across the the country had limited fishing time. Finding a free evening when it wasn’t raining, I took the short five minute drive to the pond. It takes longer to load and then unload the van again, than it takes to drive to the car park nestled among the estate’s houses. In my younger, fitter days, a brisk walk with the trolley would have completed the task, but today it’s what it is.

There were already several anglers set up around the 2 acre balancing pond, some more committed than others. No one seemed to have caught so far as I walked round, finding an open space opposite the island and next to a proper carp fisherman huddled in a chair watching his rods in a gap between trees.

Not having fished here since the winter, a white tide mark on the rocks lining the island, indicated that the level had dropped by at least 6 inches, not good in this already shallow water. I had heard that Thames Water had been doing work at the site. Lowering the outlet height would allow more water to be released during heavy rainfall, no doubt protecting the local houses, but not improving the fish habitat.

As usual, I had only brought bread for the punch and about half a pint of liquidised bread for feed, to which I mixed in a dusting of ground pellets. Wetting the feed mix, I threw out four loose balls along a line twenty yards out, that broke up on contact with the surface.

By the time I had tackled up my 12.5 foot Normark rod, bubbles were already beginning to appear in the baited area. Double punching 7 mm pellets onto the size 14 hook, the tip dipped seconds after my modified pole float hit the water. With no weight down the line and set to 15 inches deep, the bread was being pushed around by a fish, causing the float to dance around the surface without going under. Last summer the rudd in the pond were a nuisance, although worth catching once hooked. The float eventually stopped moving and assuming that the bread had been sucked off the hook, I lifted the rod to retrieve the float, only to find briefly that a carp was still holding the bait. The rod pulled down to the surface, then a bow wave heading toward the island said that the carp was gone.

The silly bites continued, the rudd seemingly doing a disappearing act this year, had left it to the carp to test my patience. Many times the float sank, to reappear a second later before a strike could be made. I lost count of the missed fish. One bite sailed away behind a bow wave, the line following. I tightened and leaned into thin air. Very frustrating.

Finally, the float held down long enough to make contact and the rod bent double into a running carp that trailed a slick of black mud, as it headed for the overhanging branches of the island. Back winding against the strain, the carp’s tail broke the surface in the shallow water, picking up a washing line of twigs, when it burrowed into the mud. Turning, it came back into the open water, where it was soon on its way to the net, although close to the bank it was almost beached, getting my net under it at full extension.

The commotion brought the serious carp man on the left to my side. He was yet to catch. The hook was just in the bottom lip of this five pound common. A lucky fish indeed. I like to keep my fish in the keepnet, until I finish, but the water was too shallow to cover the back of a carp, so it was returned without weighing.

My new companion stayed with me for a while, giving a running commentary on the iffy bites, uttering reassuring gasps every time I missed a fish. He talked of wafters and popups, artificial maggots and sweet corn, all foreign language to an old bread man like me. The Bread has done me proud so far, so why change.

A single pellet on the hook brought another rod bender, this time a barrel shaped mirror carp that ran hard to my right, out of sight behind a bush, where it wallowed on the surface like a stranded hippo. Sinking the rod tip into the mud in front of me, I reeled in and it followed, before running for the middle one more time. More back winding soon sapped its strength, turning on it’s side ready for the net.

It was still only 7:30, two carp in a hour and plenty of action in between. This mirror was the icing on the cake, but having intended fishing into the dusk, I rebaited with another single pellet and cast out. The baited area had given up its last fish and I cast another ten yards close to the island. The float sat without movement for five minutes, then vanished. Missed it! A boil spread out, where the carp had been.

Same again next cast, but this time the fish stayed on, relentlessly speeding toward the island, then running parallel to it. Everything went solid. Keeping the rod up, I could feel the carp the other side of the snag. Lowering the rod and giving line got the fish moving, but lifting in again, the line went solid, with the carp making waves the other side of the snag. The 6 lb line parted and my precious float bobbed to the surface. I will have to make up another one before my next outing.

Time to go home. I offered my fellow angler a couple of pieces of bread. He said he had missed a run on his floating artificial double sweetcorn pop up rig. He took the bread.

Bread punch tench make up the numbers

July 21, 2017 at 9:03 am

Continued hot and humid weather had banished any thoughts of fishing, but a freshening breeze and a forecast of thunderstorms by 7 pm, saw me liquidising a few slices of bread thawed from the freezer, with another slice for the punch, ready for the 10 minute walk to my local pond. Despite travelling light with just a pole and landing net, while my tackle box was loaded on the trolley with the barest of essentials, I’d seemingly sweated buckets by the time I reached the pond. The shaded swims all have dense lily beds alongside them, safe havens for running carp, so I chose to fish into open water, although it meant sitting in the full heat of the sun.

In this shallow swim, pole length is limited to six metres by a high bank behind, just allowing the top two sections to be unshipped when landing a fish, so with a short terminal rig, seven metres is the ideal fishing distance. I had been given some 2 mm krill pellets by a friend and added a handful to my ground bait mix of liquidised bread and ground carp pellets. The friend had said the krill pellets were a good tench attractor and knowing they are present in the pond it was worth a trial.

Having fed three balls along the seven metre line, the float sank away the instant the 6 mm bread pellet reached the bottom and a colourful rudd was swinging to hand.

For the next twenty minutes it was a rudd a chuck, until a different bite saw the pole elastic extending as a small powerful tench came fighting to the net. Maybe the krill pellets were working already.

Bubbles were now surfacing from the fed area and a dithering bite brought another change of fish as a small crucian carp came to hand.

The rudd had been pushed out by now and the elastic stretching out across the pond signalled a carp run. Shipping back the pole to the top two sections, the elastic took the strain, bring the carp steadily toward the landing net.

The punched bread was working well, with more crucians and small commons taking each put in, every punch representing a fish.

Putting in another three balls kept the bites and fish coming, including another tench dashing around the swim.

Small tench were now every other fish, while the occasional better common kept me on my toes.

I’d set a cut off time of six thirty, giving me three hours fishing time and on the dot the float went down with another hard fighting carp, this time an exotic fan tail, that would have been more at home in a garden pond.

In the previous hour the sky had darkened and the wind increased, that forecast of heavy rain seemed likely to be accurate and I pulled in the keepnet, this net falling just short of ten pounds. There were eight tench in amongst this catch, so maybe the krill pellets did the trick?

Half way up the hill to my home, it began to spot with rain and only wearing a T shirt expected a soaking, but made made it with a minute to spare before the heavens opened.

CZ 452 .17 HMR Varmint evening rabbit cull

July 19, 2017 at 10:02 am

A call from one of my landowners saying that his paddock was once again full of rabbits, saw me set off after rush hour on a balmy July evening, being met at the gate by Ray, who walked me through to the paddock, apologising for the fact that there were now only a few young kits visible. This is typical of many such calls, but undeterred I unsheathed the rifle and promptly dispatched the largest in view. The crack from the HMR brought panic from the until now unseen bunnie population, that suddenly appeared from nowhere, scattering in all directions without presenting a target.

Picking up the rabbit, I walked to the far corner and settled down, amazed to see fully ripe blackberries hanging out of the fence. These must be at least a month early, usually ripening in late August and going through to the first frosts. After bagging up the rabbit, I set about collecting blackberries, while I waited for some movement from the warren sixty yards away. With about a pound picked, a young rabbit appeared at the entrance to a burrow and in slow motion, I returned to the rifle and sighted through the scope. It was still sitting and with the bipod giving perfect support, lined up the cross hairs for a head shot. Number two was down without a kick.

Glancing behind as I picked, the bag had about 3 lb of fruit in it before another small rabbit popped out of the hedge at the other end of the paddock. An eighty yard shot with the scope at maximum 12 magnification, this is point and shoot with the HMR in the prone position and another head shot did it’s work.

The first time I’d shot this paddock it was used for fattening Dexter cattle. Then it was used to house Ray’s grand daughter’s pony and now with his extended family occupying the farmhouse and an adjacent bungalow, it had become a playground sporting goal posts and a trampoline. Not a good score for me this evening, but three less to dig up the pitch.

The remaining rabbits were still lying low and decided to move on to a field the other side of the yard before the light went. In cover of a tree, I peered over the fence to see several large rabbits feeding in a clear patch and eased the rifle up to rest on a post, downing two in quick succession.

This field is only used for hay and with it yet to be cut, it provided perfect cover for other rabbits to slink back to the far edge, brief glimpses of brown bodies not enough for a shot.

Climbing the fence I retrieved this pair, bagged them up, then returned to my vantage point, but a twenty minute wait brought nothing but a spectacular sunset.

Trout stream under pressure

July 14, 2017 at 9:36 pm

Six weeks have passed since my last visit to the syndicate trout stream near my home, hot drought conditions and weak river flows, due to arable farmers extracting their full quotas from the head waters, have kept me away, but heavy rains early in the week raised my expectations.

Many of the syndicate members join only to take advantage of the excellent mayfly hatches on this little river and I too would have been happy to make this season’s memories last until next year, but with my wife keen to get me from under her feet, while she sorted out bric a brac for an upcoming car boot sale, a couple of hours fly fishing was the easiest option.

The full flush of spring was long gone, as I trudged across a field of freshly mown hay, stopping at a favourite pool, where the Himalayan Balsam was now over six feet tall, crowding out the opposite bank. Floods in recent years have worn away the gravel tail of this once deep holding area, but it is always worth a few casts, often bringing a few surprises in the shape of a big chub, or trout.

I started out with an unweighted Hares Ear nymph, standing on the shallow gravels casting up and across along the bank, but the nymph was untouched as it drifted at the pace of the current, only when it sped up toward the shallows did it attract attention, short tugs and swirls each time causing me to strike into thin air. Stripping back the last few feet answered my curiosity, not a small trout, but a six inch perch had clamped onto the nymph, dropping off as I swung it in. Bumps and swirls continued each time, until the shoal of stripeys got bored and swum back to the pool.

Further up on the bend, there was a rise close to the bank, then another. Small black flies were hatching and drifting down, being casually sipped down, or attacked by minnows. The smallest fly I had in my box was a size 18 sedge, which I struggled to tie on, realising late in the operation, that there was varnish in the tiny eye. Greasing the leader, my first cast brought a swirl to the loop on the tippet, while the sedge sat up proud, but ignored. A longer second cast brought an immediate boil and a small dace tumbling across the surface, again to drop off in front of me. The other fish was still there and I made several false casts to dry the sedge, watching it sink into the surface film before it too was engulfed by a fish. A rapid side strike brought better resistance, that rolling fight being another dace of about 3 oz, which again released itself from the barbless hook. On a slow day anything is worth catching.

I moved back up above the road bridge to another old favourite pool, where I felt confident that the sedge would bring success, the low level allowing me to wade deep into the pool to present the fly into the flow, where it crosses to the right hand bank. Trout lie up under the bushes waiting for their food pass over their noses. Not today though. I considered putting on a big bushy Humpy in the hope of shocking a trout to rise, but decided to push on upstream.

Looking down from the bank into the pool I had just been fishing, my wader crunched on a bright plastic container. Picking up the box, I turned it over to see what it contained. Heavy duty swivels and shot. A poacher’s tool kit.

This answered a few questions. Close to the road, with no regular bailiffing it is too easy for gorge lines to be set to catch whatever takes the bait. It doesn’t take long to empty a river this small.

This discovery took the wind out of my sails. What is the point of fishing an artificial fly, when you are up against the sort of mentality, that want fish for the pot at any cost to the local environment. There are enough natural predators in the river, pike, mink and herons without the human kind.

Braybrooke river passes the bread test after pollution

July 1, 2017 at 4:42 pm

My local community Braybrooke Nature and Fishing Club suffered a blow early this year, when no sooner had they taken over control of the fishing rights on the river that runs through the town, it was heavily polluted, killing thousands of prime fish. Since then the little river has been polluted a further four times, when various oil based liquids have been fly dumped down rain water surface drains, which feed into the stream.

With no more events over the past months, the river appears to have recovered and during a working party to remove snags from the bottom, fish were topping all over the surface and resolved to come back for a fishing session. Arriving after lunch on a sunny afternoon, I chose to fish a swim, which had yielded a shopping trolley, two cycles, a metal chair, part of a BBQ and a building site bucket full of breeze blocks.

On getting down to the swim, my heart sank, when I saw the state of the river. It was covered a white scum with large pieces of flotsam drifting downstream.

Expecting not to even get a bite, I decided not to waste time setting up a stick float and running line, getting out my pole and quickly attaching a rig, before punching out a 5 mm pellet of bread for the size 16 hook. Without feeding, the rig was plonked into the middle of the scum. The float settled and went under. Surprise, surprise, a rudd bounced on the end of the line.

With only half a pint of liquidised bread, this was not going to be a long visit, but encouraged I fed a couple of small balls to the edge of the flow and followed through with the float. More rudd were soon swinging to hand, plus the occasional netter.

Setting the float deeper found the first roach of the afternoon, a couple more balls of bread keeping them on station.

The float dived away upstream and lifted into a small chub, that stormed round the swim.

So it went on, silver fish coming every cast, the bread punch once again proving it’s worth, each pellet accounting for a fish.

Then the gudgeon moved in, pushing out the roach. At least these fat little bottom feeders had also survived the period of pollution, when it had been impossible to get a bite on any bait.

A nice roach managed to get through the mass of gudgeon, but it was a one off, finding them where ever I place the float after that.

A couple of hours had been enough to prove that the river still holds enough fish to keep an angler busy.

Throwing the remains of my punched bread slices into the river as I packed up, I was entertained by the sight of a 3 lb carp demolishing the remnants as they drifted downstream.

New host for The Urban Fieldsportsman

June 20, 2017 at 11:31 am

Regular visitors to The Urban Fieldsportsman will have, over recent months, often found this site unavailable, due to a suspension by the previous hosting package, caused by an unresolved software problem, too techi to go into on this page.

Upgrading to a more expensive hosting with that hosting company was a promised fix, but have now changed to a different, WordPress friendly host, who assure reliable availability of the Blog.

While only a minor annoyance to those unable to log onto The Urban Fieldsportsman, this has been a stressful time for myself, finding the site suspended at random periods, unable to post fresh blogs each time, while watching the worldwide viewing figures decline.

For all those loyal viewers out there, thanks for your support.



Trout rise to last of the Mayfly

June 6, 2017 at 11:28 am

A day spent cutting back hedges in the garden, bagging up the off cuts and a couple of trips to the recycling centre, had just about worn me out. Relaxing in the sun with a well earned cup of tea, my wife commented that she was surprised, that I did not want to go fly fishing, as it was going be a lovely evening. I had been sitting there considering the most diplomatic way to broach the subject, when the words had fluttered from her lips like poetry. Realising I was on a winner, I shrugged my shoulders saying that the mayfly would be finished by now and the chances of a trout would be low, but I could go after dinner if she didn’t mind. It was true, the mayfly would be over, but it was still worth a visit.

Arriving after 7 pm the sun was still warm, the air still and a variety of flies were lifting off, even a few mayfly were about, flying low across the river. The only thing missing was the sight and sound of rising trout as I walked downstream, casting my mayfly into runs that held fish last week. The trout were still there, ignoring my artificial, making a mental note for my return upstream.

I tied on a GR Hares Ear nymph with the leader greased to the last 18 inches and began to work my way back. One observed fish sat on a corner out of the flow and the nymph induced it to move out for an inspection, but no more. Working my way back upstream, the sinking sun began to blind me, blocking out my sight of the leader on the surface. It was time to go. Nothing was rising. The trout were full of mayfly and were no longer interested. I should have stayed at home.

Close to the road bridge a fish rose under trees. Greasing up the nymph to float, I tried casting up to the rise, but caught the fly in a branch on the back cast. Pulling it free, the 4 lb tippet broke. Mayfly were now lifting off in numbers and I tied on a Mayfly to the new tippet. Giving up on this fish, I walked up to another in open water. A messy cast put the fish down.  Ten yards on another splashy rise was covered. Success a fish, but a small one.

This wild brown was a welcome sight, but not what I had hoped for. At least I had caught a trout. Reaching the van, I decided to walk to the bridge for a look upstream, the sun was now below the trees, but the light was good and mayfly were still filling the air.

A fish rose below the bend, then again as I watched. I climbed the stile into the field, then got into the river. It was still rising, lying in a deep run between shallows and I moved as slowly as possible to get in range. There was no wind and my first cast was ignored, despite what I considered to be a perfect cast. Another rise and I cast further up. Wop, it took. All hell let loose as the trout flapped on the surface, before dashing round the corner beneath a tree. Grabbing my landing net I followed it, putting on pressure to drag it out into the open. This was a good fish, that I did not want to lose, letting it run down the channel past me, netting it on the return.

I was tempted to continue upstream, but I was now satisfied with my good fortune. The mayfly had switched on for me for the last time this year and I had been there to take advantage of the feeding frenzy. Duffers fortnight had lasted five weeks this year.